Opera Scotland

Mastersingers of Nuremberg 1925British National Opera Company

Read more about the opera Meistersinger von N├╝rnberg

As seems usual for this tour, each venue got a single performance, even of a mighty work like The Mastersingers - the Wednesday of Glasgow's second week and the Monday of Edinburgh's first.

When it comes to matching singers to specific roles among the nine minor masters we have resorted to a degree of improvisation. Four of the singers, Messrs Quinn, Peddieson, Hindmarch and Le Pla all appear in a programme during the 1927 run, and are likely to have taken the same roles. Other than that, we have had to resort to an element of guesswork, helped by voice type.

Parry Jones was a highly popular singer, still talked of long after his death. His connection with The Mastersingers during this period seems extraordinary.  In 1925 he was already singing the title role in Tannhäuser, while in Mastersingers he played one of the minor masters.  In 1926 he was promoted to the apprentice David, and then in 1927 he sang the hero, Walther von Stolzing, himself.

For those of us who grew up when appearances of Sir Malcolm Sargent made for a venerable institution at the Last Night of the Proms it is hard to imagine him as a leading Wagnerian.


An Edinburgh Review

The Scotsman treated its review of the first performance as an introduction to the whole fortnight:

'With a judicious blending of novelties, revivals, and stock favourites, the directors of the British National Opera Company have arranged an attractive round of performances for the Edinburgh fortnight of the Company.  Holst's At the Boar's Head, and Coffee and Cupid, the stage version of Bach's Coffee Cantata, have not been heard in Edinburgh before;  Verdi's Othello and Puccini's Tosca have not been given here by the British National Opera artists for some little time, and Verdi's Rigoletto, while by no means unfamiliar here, is a new venture for the British National Opera Company, so far as Edinburgh is concerned. 

For the rest, there are such comparative novelties as Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, and Vaughan Williams's Hugh the Drover, and the perenially welcome Tannhäuser, The Magic Flute, La Bohème, Aïda, Carmen, The Tales of Hoffmann, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Pagliacci. It is a repertory with a good deal in it for everybody.

'No more auspicious choice for the opening night of the season could have been made than The Mastersingers.  It was a performance which presented many welcome features, if no outstanding novelty in the way of casting.  There were two well-remembered impersonations in the Hans Sachs and Pogner of Messrs Andrew Shanks and Robert Radford respectively. 

The excellent Eva of Miss Miriam Licette was also familiar; Mr Walter Widdop, as last year, was again the Walter, and Mr William Michael repeated his fine performance as Beckmesser.  The David of Mr Frederick Davies was very good, and Miss Constance Willis was again the Magdalena.

'The Mastersingers had all well differentiated representatives in Messrs Parry Jones,  Frederick Hitchin, Frederic Collier, Liddell Peddieson, Martin Quinn, Archibald Cooper, Henry Mann, Frank Le Pla, and Thomas Hindmarsh, while as the Watchman Mr Philip Bertram was effective.

'As a whole it was a fine performance, although there have been occasions when the enunciation was more distinct. Rather curiously, the shortcoming in this respect appeared to be general. Musically, however, the rendering left nothing to be desired. Miss Licette is an admirable artist, Mr Widdop's Walter has gained greatly in effectiveness since last year, and the Sachs of Mr Andrew Shanks and the Pogner of Mr Robert Radford were as impressive as ever.

'Walter's songs,  Sachs's monologue, the beautiful quintet in the third act, the overture, the introduction to the third act, and the running orchestral commentary, with its wonderful thematic texture, throughout the course of the opera, were all given delightfully. 

Mr Malcolm Sargent conducted.'


BNOC in Scotland - 1925

The 1925 tour consisted of two weeks in Glasgow (Theatre Royal) followed by two weeks in Edinburgh (King's).

The 19 operas performed during the tour were:

Bach (Coffee Cantata);  Mozart (Magic Flute); Wagner (Tannhäuser, Tristan and Isolde Mastersingers); Verdi (RigolettoAïdaOtello); Offenbach (Tales of Hoffmann);  Bizet (Carmen);  Rimsky-Korsakov (Golden Cockerel);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana); Puccini (BohèmeToscaMadam ButterflyGianni Schicchi); Holst (At the Boar's Head);  Vaughan Williams (Hugh the Drover).

The tour schedule was:

Glasgow, w/c 28 September: Mon 28 Rigoletto;  Tue 29 Tannhäuser;  Wed 30 mat Cav & Pag;  Wed 30 eve Hugh the Drover;  Thu 1 Oct Otello;  Fri 2 Madam Butterfly; Sat 3 mat Magic Flute;  Sat 3 eve Bohème.

Glasgow, w/c 5 October: Mon 5 Carmen; Tue 6 Coffee Cantata & Golden Cockerel; Wed 7 mat Rigoletto;  Wed 7 eve Mastersingers;  Thu 8 Otello;  Fri 9 Tristan and Isolde;  Sat 10 mat Tales of Hoffmann;  Sat 10 eve Aïda.

Edinburgh, w/c 12 October: Mon 12 Mastersingers;  Tue 13 Tannhäuser;  Wed 14  mat Bohème; Wed 14 eve Aïda;  Thu 15 Magic Flute;  Fri 16 Coffee Cantata & Hugh the Drover;  Sat 17 mat Golden Cockerel;  Sat 17 eve Carmen.

Edinburgh, w/c 19 October: Mon 19 Otello;  Tue 20 At the Boar's Head & Gianni Schicchi;  Wed 21 mat Cav Pag;  Wed 21 eve Rigoletto;  Thu 22 Bohème;  Fri 23 Tosca;  Sat 24 mat Carmen;  Sat 24 eve Tales of Hoffmann.

Performance Cast

Walther von Stolzing a young knight

Walter Widdop (Oct 12)

Eva daughter of Pogner

Miriam Licette (Oct 12)

Magdalene Eva's nurse

Constance Willis (Oct 12)

David apprentice to Sachs

Frederick Davies (Oct 12)

Hans Sachs a shoemaker

Andrew Shanks (Oct 12)

Veit Pogner a goldsmith

Robert Radford (Oct 12)

Sixtus Beckmesser town clerk

William Michael (Oct 12)

Fritz Kothner a baker

Frederic Collier (Oct 12)

Konrad Nachtigall a tinsmith

Harry Mann (Oct 12)

Balthasar Zorn a pewterer

Parry Jones (Oct 12)

Ulrich Eisslinger a grocer

Martin Quinn (Oct 12)

Kunz Vogelgesang a furrier

Archibald Cooper (Oct 12)

Augustin Moser a tailor

Liddell Peddieson (Oct 12)

Hans Foltz a coppersmith

Thomas Hindmarch (Oct 12)

Hermann Ortel a soap-boiler

Frederick Hitchen (Oct 12)

Hans Schwarz a stocking-weaver

Frank Le Pla (Oct 12)


Philip Bertram (Oct 12)

Performance DatesMastersingers of Nuremberg 1925

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

7 Oct, 18.30

King's Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

12 Oct, 18.30

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